New golf leader sets priorities
Exploring ways of encouraging visiting players to Horsham and establishing club stability are cornerstone priorities for new Horsham Golf Club general manager and director of golf Paul Riley.
Mr Riley, who started in his new role on Monday, said he was looking forward to helping re-establish Horsham Golf Course as a primary golfing destination between Melbourne and Adelaide.
But he added that at the same time the club needed to consolidate its position with members and the people of Horsham district in general.
“It is important to get the message out to members and prospective members that the club is stabilising and will be combining competitive packages with a well-established quality product,” he said.
“The club is fantastic and just needs tweaking and not some miracle worker coming in with a cape.
“It’s about doing thousands of little things well, steadying the ship and using networks, local and beyond, to persuade people to either continue to come or come back to play golf in Horsham.
“Golfers travelling to Horsham from Melbourne or Adelaide as well as regional players will not only be good for the club, but also for the overall community.”
The brother of former Australian Open winner Wayne Riley, Mr Riley is a former national Singapore golf coach who for many years has been in charge of Hong Kong Jockey Club’s golfing operations.
He has an advanced status in golf management with Australian Professional Golfers Association and is a member of Club Managers Association of Australia, Europe and Hong Kong.
Mr Riley’s wife and two children will join him in Horsham next month.
He said he was excited that the club, course and Horsham itself had lived up to his expectations.
“At the moment I’m just getting a feel for the place, but I’ve been impressed with my first look at the course and the clubhouse is beautiful,” he said.
“To have an authentic sand-belt is also incredible and a rare privilege.”
Mr Riley said a family motivation to come to Horsham was to raise his children in a healthy environment that presented a wealth of opportunities. “No disrespect to Hong Kong, but in the Wimmera the kids can get all the fresh air they need and there are more options in regards to support and education,” he said.
“There are also future possibilities to buy a house. Hong Kong is ridiculously expensive.
“My personal motivation is to try to activate the further education I’ve done with the PGA, which involves managing entire golfing facilities instead of individual departments.”
Mr Riley said he would get busy analysing opportunities to increase the club’s profile, which would most likely involve engaging a variety of development, business and sporting connections across Victoria and South Australia, as well as the region.
He also said the club would build on major events such as the Western Open in the first week of October.
“We’re going to make a big deal about these types of events because they are, in fact, a big deal,” he said.
“The winner of the Western Open gets a ticket into the Victorian Open, which is no small feat and really exciting.
“The underlining key is to reinvigorate the club by moving forward.
“This is not about detracting from the work of any previous boards or officials – it’s not a competition.
“Every club around the world has to reinvent itself at some stage.”
FRESH START: Paul Riley is Horsham Golf Club’s new general manager and director of golf. He started in the new role on Monday. Picture: KELLY LAIRD